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Prerelease:The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

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This page details prerelease information and/or media for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

Development Timeline

Screenshots and trailers released prior to the release of the game showed four different interface configurations, which are used here to demarcate the different periods of the game’s development.


OoT-Early Link.gif
From the game's conception to its unveiling at Shoshinkai in December 1995.


OoT-Early Stalfos Jan 97.png
A + B
October 1996 to April 1997, including the first look at the game in-engine at Spaceworld '96.
OoT-Sky Temple.png
A + C
May-July 1997. A more complex interface emerges and E3 happens.
OoT-Early Horse IGN.jpg
Early Sword on A
August-September 1997. A is B and B is A.
OoT-Child Temple of Time IGN.jpg
Sword on A (Part 1)
October-December 1997, including Child Link's debut and the Spaceworld demo.


OoT-Unicorn Fountain1.png
Sword on A (Part 2)
January-March 1998. Featuring the unicorn fountain.
OoT-Child Zelda June 98.png
Sword on A (Part 3)
April 1998. More areas are showcased.
OoT-Pause Menu Items Page May98.jpg
Sword on A (Part 4)
May-June 1998. The game's showcasing at E3.
OoT-Serenade Cutscene 2 July 98.jpg
Sword on A (Part 5)
July 1998. Beginning to take shape.
OoT-Bombchu Bowling Sep98.png
Sword on B (Part 1)
August-September 1998. The interface is changed one last time as the game prepares for release.
OoT-Ganondorf Oct98.png
Sword on B (Part 2)
October-November 1998. Final polishing is done.


It is difficult to determine the date of everything so more things will be documented here.

Scrapped 9th Dungeon

Eiji Aonuma, who worked as a Game System Director and Dungeon Designer for the game briefly mentioned how a ninth dungeon was planned for the game, but was eventually scrapped due to magic getting reworked.

OoT-9th Dungeon (N-Zone 2010-10).png

(Source: N-Zone (German) Magazine Issue 153 2010-01)

Ocarina of Time Encyclopedia Interview

Chain Chomp in Gerudo's Fortress

—While Ocarina of Time features familiar characters like the Tektites and Armos Knights, there are also some notable absences. The Mario series regular Chain Chomp, for instance, who appeared in ALttP, didn't make the cut.

Miyamoto: Actually, Chain Chomp was in there up to the very end, but in the final revisions we removed him. Do you know where he was going to appear?

—Was it the desert area?

Miyamoto: It was Gerudo's Fortress. If the Chain Chomp grabbed Link, he'd be bound by chains, and could only escape by using the hammer to break the chainlinks.

No Chain Chomp is visible in prerelease footage or screenshots and no commit log makes mention of it either. It's possible it only existed in concept and was never implemented into the game.

Magic and Ocarina Songs

—Your well-known "dislike of magic" is alive-and-well in this latest Zelda. In ALttP, there were the three magic medallions, but they had hardly any use outside of a few events. Ocarina, likewise, has Din's Fire and that's it. The lack of emphasis on magic—or to be more ill-spirited, a contemptuous attitude towards magic (laughs)—is this too a part of "Zelda-ness"?

Miyamoto: You're overthinking it. (laughs) If it were up to the team, though, they always want to create more magic. In Ocarina, as well, there was a version where you could use 5 or 6 magic spells, but they didn't really leave much of an impression on me, and I decided those effects would be better served as items, or as Ocarina songs. I do hope that in the future magic can be used as a way to show off the power of the new 3D visuals. It's not that I "dislike" it, you see, I just think relying on magic is taking the easy way out somehow.

—In turn, you've put a lot of that focus on the Ocarina this time around. It's become more and more important with each Zelda game: the ocarina in Link's Awakening had a bigger role than in ALttP, and now its role is bigger still. With its various uses, I think it's fulfilling some of what magic would otherwise do.

Miyamoto: In Ocarina of Time, the first thing we did was make the ocarina more usable as an actual instrument, with the ability to play real notes. Then we thought about how to incorporate that into the game in an interesting way. In the beginning there were only 6 songs, but that expanded to 13 once the ocarina took over the role of the magic spells.
OoT-Pause Menu Inventory Page May98 .jpg

As Miyamoto explains, only 6 songs existed. Sometime after E3 1998 more songs were composed by Koji Kondo and were given a use case.

Navi's Hints

Miyamoto: I think the way we give hints is still a little too unfriendly. Speaking plainly, I can now confess to you: I think the whole system with Navi giving you advice is the biggest weakpoint of Ocarina of Time. It's incredibly difficult to design a system that gives proper advice, advice that's tailored to the player's situation. To do it right, you'd have to spend the same amount of time as you would developing an entire game, and I was very worried we'd be digging ourselves into a hole, if we pursued perfection there…

If you read Navi's text, she says the same things over and over. I know it makes it sound bad, but we purposely left her at a kind of "stupid" level. I think if we'd tried to make Navi's hints more sophisticated, that "stupidity" would have actually stood out even more. The truth is I wanted to remove the entire system, but that would have been even more unfriendly to players. You can think of Navi as being there for players who stop playing for a month or so, who then pick the game back up and want to remember what they were supposed to do. It's a brazen excuse, I know. (laughs)

Otherwise, we tried to make the hints friendly for players, but I heard many people saying how they couldn't solve them without a strategy guide. When we took a closer look, though, we've found that the sections people need hints for vary from person-to-person. There's no consistency. That can't be helped, though, in a game like Zelda which combines action and puzzle solving.

(Source: Translation by shmuplations.com)

Design Documents

To do:
One of the documents show Link running up the Ganon's Tower. That particular image must be edited so it can be seen. Initially the plan was for Link and Ganondorf to take a race instead of the castle collapsing.
To do:
Old Water Temple puzzle plans, might be close to one or two rooms from the Overdump?
OoT-Design Documents1(denfaminicogamer).jpg


To do:
Did anything change with Jabu-Jabu's Belly's design? Something's partially seen underneath the Jabu documents too, can it be figured out what it is?
OoT-Design Documents2(denfaminicogamer).jpg


To do:
Fire Temple elevator docs and more Jabu
OoT-Design Documents3(denfaminicogamer).jpg


To do:
Anything in the text that mentions something cut?
OoT-Design Documents4(denfaminicogamer).jpg


To do:
Document what's there to say about the Spot order & add comparison screenshots how one of the doors in the Old Deku Tree's window room was placed differently. (Latter might be bs, so remove it if so.)
OoT-Deku Tree 2 IGN.jpg
OoT-Design Documents5(denfaminicogamer).jpg




On October 30, 1997, patent number JP 9-298111 was filed by Shigeru Miyamoto, Yoshiaki Koizumi, Toru Osawa, Yoichi Yamada, Toshio Iwawaki, and Tsuyoshi Kihara. The patent, which refers to Link as a player object and Navi as a selection object, describes and illustrates how Z-Targeting functions. It goes into detail on the process by which non-player objects to face nearby non-player objects by targeting them using the Z button.

Aug. '97 Fig. 12 Fig. 13
OoT-Gohmas Lair.jpg OoT-Z Target Patent 1.png OoT-Z Target Patent 2.png

Despite the patent's filing date of October, Link's appearance and equipped items suggest that illustrations found within are based on the August 1997 version of the game.

The Lizalfos and Dodongo imply that Link is in Dodongo's Cavern, which is also present in other screenshots from the same month.


OoT-Ocarina Patent1.png

Link finds a sign with sheets to an Ocarina song. What's fascinating about this, is the fact that this patent is from October 1997, when only warp songs for the game would've existed. It's as if they were thinking far into the future here.

OoT-Ocarina Patent2.png

Link is depicted playing Ocarina in Free Play. An interface never shows up in this scenario, but instead only when the game wanted you to play a certain song to do something.

OoT-Ocarina Patent3.png

Navi was planned to fly on the staff, this never ended up implemented to the game.

Compass Display

Documented here.

Giles Goddard's Teleportation Demo


This was just a test Giles Goddard made for himself in early 1998, but OoT's Map Designer handed him a copy of the Forest Temple map for it, which seems to line up with March 1998 screenshots.

Rare's Spaceworld '97 Notes

OoT-SW97 notes from Rare.jpg


Impa's House used to be located at Lake Hylia

Early on, Lake Hylia Laboratory's interior led to Impa's House pre-render and not the 3D-modeled Lakeside Laboratory it was changed to be. This is known since Impa's House is internally named labo, which stands for laboratory, and Alternate Scene Setups on the Lake bring you to her house and not the Lakeside Laboratory map.

Fozzilized fish photo from a museum In-game
OoT-Impa's House Fish Fossil.png
OoT-Impa's House1.png

A photo of a fozzilized fish is used in her house, which seems to be a remnant from the times when this house was at the Lake and not Kakariko Village.

OoT-Impa's House2.png

Why would Impa own so many bottles? Well, even just before the game was finished, Lake Hylia was the go-to location to find almost all of the game's bottles.

(Source: Porcino-sama & Xiartic)

Lon Lon Ranch in Fire

Miyamoto: Yes. You know that guy Ingo who's at the ranch?

Iwata: Yes. He doesn't have a very nice personality and looks a bit like Luigi. (laughs)

Miyamoto: That's right. (laughs) Ingo and Link have a horse race. If Link wins, he can get the horse named Epona, but Ingo closes the entrance gate to the ranch.

Iwata: Then you jump over the fence on Epona and escape.

Miyamoto: That's right. At first, I imagined a scene in which Ingo, in a frenzy, sets the ranch on fire, so Epona jumps against a backdrop of flames, but then someone said, "What about when Link comes back to the ranch later?" So I gave that up. (laughs)
(Source: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D Mr. Shigeru Miyamoto)

It's possible the idea of a burning place was later repurposed for Kakariko Village.

Artwork Discrepancies

As artwork was created alongside development, sometimes cut elements managed to sneak in.


Artwork Impa
OoT-Link & Shiek.jpg OoT-Impa Concept.jpg

Sheik seems to be carrying Impa's knife in this artwork.


Artwork Final
OoT-Guard Concept.jpg OoT-Guard Model.png

A flower ornament is present on the guards chest which bears resemblance to the ornament on the early Great Fairy.

Dodongo's Cavern

Artwork Final
OoT-Dodongos Cavern Concept.jpg OoT-Dodongos Cavern Comparison.png

The bombable walls seem to be brown doors and the near bridge has one large gap and the farther has none instead of two. These are likely mistakes or artistic choices than differences in the game.

Desert Oasis

Artwork Final
OoT-Oasis Concept.jpg OoT-Oasis Comparison.png

A platform of unclear purpose is present.

Desert Colossus

Artwork Final
OoT-Spirit Temple Concept.jpg OoT-Spirit Temple Comparison.png

A sign is present near the entrance.

Ganon's Castle Exterior

Artwork Final
OoT-Ganons Castle Concept.jpg OoT-Ganons Castle Comparison.png

No stairs and pillar beside path.

Info Yet to Be Incorporated

Abandon hope all ye who enter here.

Photos of Prerelease Carts

Ocarina of Time (November 1997) - Tim Stamper (Rare) Ocarina of Time Prototype - Tim Stamper (Rare)
Ocarina of Time Prototype Cartridge (December 1997) E3 1998 Zelda Press Event (May 28-30) with Takashi Tezuka
Miyamoto's Office (Famimaga64 1998-01).png
Takashi Tezuka at E3 1998 Press Conference (64Dream 1998-08).png
E3 1998 Zelda Press Event (May 28-30) with Takashi Tezuka Ocarina of Time (locked) at E3 1998
ZeldaOoT-Prerelease Cart Unknown2.png
ZeldaOoT-Prerelease Cart E3 1998 flashcart.jpg
Oct. 14, '98 Press Event - 64 Power Iss. 12/1998 Oct. 14, '98 Press Event - Nintendo Accion Iss. 73
ZeldaOoTprotoCart 64Power-12-1998.png
ZeldaOoTprotoCart NintendoAccionIssue73.png
Oct. 14, '98 Press Event - 64 Power 1998 Interview with Miyamoto
ZeldaOoTprotoCart Oct. 14, '98.PNG
ZeldaOcarina 1998MiyamotoInterview protoCart.png

Fan Sites




News Sites

Official Sites